Active surveillance for CLL

Doctor talking to an older male patient

Chronic leukaemia usually develops slowly. About one-third of patients with CLL have a form that grows so slowly that no treatment is needed. Active surveillance involves regular check-up visits and blood tests.

You will go to your doctor every few months for blood tests and other tests to monitor your disease. For example, cytogenetic tests. It may take years for the disease to become active, or you may never develop any symptoms.

Worried about not having treatment?

If your doctor decides not to treat your CLL, it can be stressful. You may be relieved the disease is not active but you may start to worry that it will get worse. You may also feel very anxious before your check-ups. While it's easy to say ‘don’t worry’, it's not so easy in practice. The following may help you to cope while you are being managed with watch and wait:

  • Understand active surveillance: If you have any questions or worries about not having treatment, ask a doctor or nurse. You can also visit a Daffodil Centre or call our Cancer Nurseline at 1800 200 700 to speak to a cancer nurse. We also have more information on active surveillance. 
  • Keep busy: Try to focus on the present and make the most of the time while your disease isn't active.
  • Share your worries: Talk to friends and family or join a support group. Your doctor or a medical social worker or counsellor may also be able to calm your fears.

For more information

Icon: Phone


1800 200 700

Icon: Email